Research Paper Proposal
(http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin/writ-pap.htm ) before you begin brainstorming about topics or writing your paper. Your final product will be judged on how well you succeed in producing a well though out, clear paper which shows you can interpret and intelligently discuss the issue and how well you can backup your findings with evidence. If you can't find sufficient sources you may have to rethink your subject. If you are taking a course in your major this semester, you can research a topic for that course (with my permission and the other professor's.) See me about the submission form.
Science and technology rapidly advances; therefore, "old "stuff," other than as background information, can be misleading and lead to wrong conclusions. Look for possible topics and background information in specialized encyclopedias, such as McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, Magill's Survey of Science: Life Science Series, Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Technology, American Medical Association Encyclopedia of Medicine. Encyclopedias should not be your main sources, but can give you good background information and clarify concepts.
Approach: Your paper does not have a chance to be substantive unless you have substantive sources. Out of the 15 possible sources you found for your proposal, you should end up with 7 to 10 VARIED (NOT all Internet sites, for example) sources - including professional journal articles and professional publications, Internet sources, and possibly (but not required) an interview. It is a balancing act to find sources that you can understand - that relate to your level of study in your discipline, and, at the same time, challenge you intellectually. Be prepared at all times to show me the hard copies of your sources. Keep good notes. Be sure you have records on the title of the article, the title of the journal, the author/s names, date of publication, page numbers and other information required on your reference page and in your in-text citation, plus the key points from the source. Identify whether you are paraphrasing or quoting.]
Below is the format for your Research Paper Proposal. I must approve your topic and sources. I will not accept any papers that have major changes in topic or sources without my prior approval. Your paper must be your original work, fitting the guidelines in your research paper assignment. Please - no papers on global warming or marijuana. Those have been done ad nauseum and will only bore me to death.
Review the Honor Code and Plagiarism Guidelines (http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin/plagiarism.htm). Fortunately, most students do their own work. For anyone tempted to pass off someone else's work as his or her own, I am a sophisticated user of the Internet and can easily spot papers gotten from paper mills, Internet or otherwise. Please do not jeopardize your college career or your grade in this class by using papers that are not written by you.]
[ The information between the brackets [ ] is to guide you. Here is a proposal template(http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin/prop-res-template) without the explanations. You can save it as an html file and/or text file and insert your text.
To: Professor Virginia Montecino
From: [name and email address]
Subject of my paper: [The subject is the broad topic]
My Major and why writing about this topic will be beneficial to me: [If you are not vested in your topic, chances are your incentive to write about the subject will be weak. If you are interested in the topic you will probably write a better paper.]
My thesis: [The thesisis generally a sentence or two, which comes after the introductory material and states the main point/s in your paper. It is NOT a question. If your subject is fertility treatments, for example, your thesis might be "The high number of multiple births is forcing society to examine the ethical issues that are caused by fertility drugs and invitro fertilization. ]
Approach to the subject of my paper: [Try toenvision a logical way in which to present your material. In what order will you present your material to best address the issues? Will you have to define any terms? If so, which ones? Will you have to clarify terms and concepts? Do you think that inserting anecdotal evidence, for example, high profile stories of people who have had multiple births, as in the case above, will help your reader understand your paper? Will you show opposing viewpoints? Will you discuss the plusses and minuses of different platforms that perform similar functions? Will you be comparing and contrasting? Will you be categorizing some information? Perhaps you will be using a number of these approaches in your paper. Let me know where you think you are headed.]
Intended audience: [Your readers should not be specialists in your field. Assume that your readers have, in general, your level of education, but are not necessarily majoring in the same subject. You will have to define terms and explain concepts. But beyond these obvious ground rules, discuss what people or group of people might benefit from reading your paper. For example, in the multiple birth example, might prospective users of fertility clinics, childless husbands and wives, benefit from the information in your paper? ]
Graphs or charts: [Graphs and charts will not impress me unless they truly help the reader better understand some aspect of your paper. Be sure to document charts and graphs from other sources. Charts and/or graphs should not stand alone. They should compliment textual descriptions. Refer to the chart or graph in the text where you discuss the information. Charts, graphs or other appendices do not count toward the 5 to 7 pages of required text.]
Documentation Style: [APA is preferred, but if you want to use another scientific style, such as CBE, or Number, Date style, you must ask for approval. See on-line style guides at http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin/stylgui.htm.]
Kinds of sources I will use and why they will benefit my paper: [ Do you have a balanced variety of sources? What strengths will they lend to the paper? How will they help clarify points you want to make?Use a combination of sources. Do not use all Internet sources. Some of your sources must be from a professional journal in your field, such as a nursing journal, a computer science or engineering journal, such as IEEE Spectrum. Some high end general audience publications such as Scientific American, or PC Computing can be used. Internet sources can be used if they are from credible sites such as the National Institute of Health, The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). See a list of Internet resources by discipline (http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin/disciplines.htm) and do your own searches for other resources.]
Tentative List of References: [You should have at least Fifteen (15) separate sources listed in the proper APA format. This information should be on a separate page called References. Abide by all of the APA format guidelines for the reference page. The sources should be varied - not all Internet sources, for example - and be appropriate for a college level research paper. Peoplemagazine, Readers Digest, and others of that ilk are not satisfactory. Show me that you know how to find and can analyze data from sources within your discipline. Your final reference page in the Research Paper should have a minimum of 7 to 10 sources, each of which must be used as a source in your paper. Do not put any sources in your references that you have not used in your paper. It is possible for some of your sources to change as you become more deeply involved in writing your paper. Advise me of changes in references. ]
Virginia Montecino| firstname.lastname@example.org
What is a term paper for you? Generally, it is a written assignment of reasonable length in which it is necessary to analyze and interpret the obtained information concerning a specific topic. In real life, it is a stressful and troublesome process, especially for dummies. Every semester college and high school students are required to prepare term papers on a research topic relevant to the subject covered in the class. Writing a concise text is the aim for many students as mediocre results cannot bring academic success. Want to take your term paper to the head of the class? Follow the simple steps of our guide and learn the peculiarities of preparation and creation of the term paper outline, introduction, body, and conclusion:
Step1 Selection of a Topic
There are two possible situations: a professor gives you a topic or you have the opportunity to choose it on your own. Be specific. On the one hand, you may visit the school library and begin finding the sources. In the latter case, you have to brainstorm the ideas and take over the responsibility for choosing the proper theme. Take advantage of the situation in any situation. It is the most common problem to find a suitable topic as the decision may influence the whole working process. If you ignore this part of the assignment, the absence of the needed materials and inspiration will spoil the whole quality of your college term paper. Just ask yourself several questions:
Am I interested in the subject?
Which topic may be useful for me in future?
Does the topic fit the format?
Is the subject likely to be covered in articles and books?
Have you answered “YES” to at least three questions? It is proved that if a student is interested in the theme, the process flows quicker and the knowledge absorbs better.
Step 2 Research Process
Once you’ve chosen the topic, it is high time to start the research. Every academic text should be organized according to the needed formatting style. Check the available samples of the similar papers on the Web and sit down to your work with a clear plan in your mind. Make a list of keywords that will be helpful for both online and offline searches and read fluently every article, journal or book related to the subject and take special notes from solid references. Look for information on your topic in the library, the major department, and other sources appropriate for it.
Grab all the materials and get down to work in a quiet place where nothing can disturb you. Scholarly books contain information that is more specific while books are for a more general audience. Additionally, use reviews as they contain helpful references and leads to primary sources. Write out the page where the passage you intend to quote takes place, note important statistics, proper names, and definitions.
Step 3 Structure
How to draw up a term paper? It is needed to follow the simple structure that includes:
List of abbreviations
List of figures
Talk to your instructor in order to know the exact text length for your assignment. Generally, it doesn’t exceed 3500 words or 8 – 10 pages. Indicate the name of your school, the name of the lecturer, title of your term paper, year/semester and contacts on the title page. What do you want to write about?
Write a statement outlining the main peculiarities of the paper (prospectus). The guiding question and the argument why it is interesting should be presented in the introduction. Argue your points or answer the central question by providing with the needed evidence in the main section that can be subdivided into subchapters. The conclusion is the type of summary where you may support your point and answer the central question. Sometimes the question remains open and suggests points which deserve further research.
Step 4 Write a Term Paper!
Organize the information you have gathered according to your outline and check it for reliability, currency, and accuracy. Don’t waste any minute and proceed to the writing process! Information that is not relevant to your topic or hard to your understanding should be removed. Be able to communicate your ideas, insights, and thoughts in your first draft. In this case, you can write fast without paying attention to the grammatical correctness of the text. Prepare everything for writing your well-organized term paper exactly as outlined.
Step 5 Edit and Write a Final Paper
Doesn’t matter if you are working on the term paper in History or Engineering, the most pleasant and the most critical part of the whole process is writing a final draft. Read your rough draft written previously and analyze whether it captures the essence of your idea. Plagiarism is out of the question. If you followed the previous steps, your text must be unique. You should detect any content errors personally and with the help of special online grammar and proofreading checkers and reorganize your outline if necessary. Final paper with proper spelling, punctuation, and structure makes your term paper attractive and meet the requirements specified by your lecturer. Finally, before submitting your assignment ask yourself: "Is this the best version of the term paper that I can do?"